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posted by martyb on Friday September 10, @10:33AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the #Apocalipsis dept.

First Came A Quake In Mexico, Then Strange Blue Lights. People Feared The Apocalypse:

Mexicans are sharing spectacular videos of bursts of blue lights seen streaking across the skies as a strong earthquake rocked the country's Pacific coast city of Acapulco on Wednesday.

The 7.0 magnitude quake struck some 11 miles northeast of the resort city in the southwestern state of Guerrero. At least one person was killed, buildings were damaged and rockslides littered a major highway, but the temblor didn't cause widespread damage. It did rattle nerves though.

The earthquake could be felt some 200 miles away in Mexico City and lasted nearly a minute. Residents fled into the streets as buildings swayed, sidewalks undulated and the blue lights burst brilliantly in the sky.

[...] Rutgers University physicist Troy Shinbrot says not to worry — the blue lights are not a sign of the world coming to an end. [...] In an interview with NPR, he said the phenomenon of so-called earthquake lights has been recorded historically and occurs fairly regularly.

Some scientists believe the eruption of light, or luminosity, is caused by the friction of rock near Earth's crust, which releases energy into the atmosphere. The flash of light is produced near the planet's surface.

Shinbrot has tried to re-create the phenomenon in his lab and says he has measured voltage changes similar to what happens when Earth's crust slips in an earthquake.

[...] There's disagreement about what actually causes the flashes. The U.S. Geological Survey makes that clear on its website, stating, "Geophysicists differ on the extent to which they think that individual reports of unusual lighting near the time and epicenter of an earthquake actually represent EQL."


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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @12:02PM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @12:02PM (#1176570)

    Want to see the phenomenon without the NPR cookie banner?
    https://duckduckgogg42xjoc72x3sjasowoarfbgcmvfimaftt6twagswzczad.onion/?q=blue+light+and+earthquakes&ia=web [duckduckgogg42xjoc72x3sjasowoarfbgcmvfimaftt6twagswzczad.onion]

    Also, nice write up here, apparently this has been known for some time.
    https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/earthquake-lights [nationalgeographic.com]

    And Wikipedia has some nice diagrams explaining phole propagation within interplate orogenic tectonic subduction zones:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthquake_light [wikipedia.org]

    The extension, "I don't care about cookies" does not work for NPR.
    And
    SoylentNews .onion site does not load timing out, (maybe they are getting version 3 ready?)

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday September 10, @01:45PM (6 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday September 10, @01:45PM (#1176600)

      AC's links are frustrating, but I got enough out of the NatGeo story before AdBlock passing popups pissed me off to see that there's some correlation with ball lightning.

      Has anyone ever photographed these earthquake lights?

      I personally experienced ball lightning, and I'm pretty sure that a camera (electronic or chemical film) would not have seen the same thing I saw - a glowing white ball more or less perfectly contained in the opening I happened to be looking at. The best explanations I have read of ball lightning (relative to my personal experience) is that it is a hallucinatory manifestation of the extreme dynamic magnetic fields associated with a powerful nearby lightning strike. Users of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) report similar kinds of hallucinations.

      This would be different than the "green flash" which would seem to be a kind of retinal overexposure in the orange colors which make the final light after sunset appear green while the orange receptors recover.

      --
      My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Friday September 10, @07:25PM (4 children)

        My google-fu fails me, but I remember reading that they recreated ball lightning in a lab about... maybe about four or five years ago? It does take a very rare set of circumstances to create, but it's an actual phenomenon and not a hallucination.

        • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Friday September 10, @07:37PM

          Ok, not what I remember (as my memory usually sucks), but here are a couple of links. This one [phys.org] is from 2006 and it was created above water by an underwater discharge. This one [bbc.com] is from 2013. An interesting quote from Dr. Lindsay says "I need to be honest: we're not sure that this is the same phenomenon as ball lightning." This article [aps.org] talks about scientifically analyzing real ball lightning during a thunderstorm.

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday September 10, @11:34PM (2 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday September 10, @11:34PM (#1176830)

          My understanding of the "data" such as it is, is that physical ball lightning is a real but exceptionally rare event, while the hallucinatory ball lightning is somewhat more common.

          When I saw a small glowing white ball appear on our bookshelf, not the shelf where the equipment all fried but the next one up where my attention was focused, my wife saw a similar car sized glowing white ball in the yard, where her attention was focused.

          --
          My karma ran over your dogma.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, @03:12AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 12, @03:12AM (#1177165)

        Has anyone ever photographed these earthquake lights?

        The first video is crap but scroll down: When mysterious blue flashes lit up the sky after Mexico earthquake, some feared #Apocalipsis [msn.com]

  • (Score: 3, Funny) by SomeGuy on Friday September 10, @12:11PM (3 children)

    by SomeGuy (5632) on Friday September 10, @12:11PM (#1176577)

    Great. Now even earthquakes have annoying burn-out-your-retina blue LEDs built in to them. Before long they will have smart phones built in to them too. :P

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday September 10, @03:53PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday September 10, @03:53PM (#1176663) Journal

      Well, they had vibration mode since forever.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by corey on Friday September 10, @09:46PM

      by corey (2202) on Friday September 10, @09:46PM (#1176804)

      Yeah I bet the guy who invented the blue LED is crying in shame. Worse is that car manufacturers use them in dials and indicators. Destroys your night vision when driving at night. I miss my old 2005 Audi where they used nothing but red LEDs for all the indicators and dials. Was much nicer to drive at night.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @02:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 11, @02:34AM (#1176867)

      Hopefully the chip shortage will result in an earthquake shortage.

  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Friday September 10, @05:52PM

    by PiMuNu (3823) on Friday September 10, @05:52PM (#1176738)

    I recall seeing an article indicating that spiders fly using earth's *electric* fields (and a long strand of spider silk).

    Electric fields, unlike magnetic fields, can transport energy.

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2020/dec/05/ballooning-spiders-take-flight-earth-electric-fields [theguardian.com]

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @07:29PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 10, @07:29PM (#1176758)

    Oh wait, this is Mexico.

    Aliens generally only occur in British Columbia when David Duchovny is filming a spooky romance with Gillian Anderson.

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